Sunday, 23 November 2014

Flury: Journey of a Snowman by Tony Bertauski Blog Tour - Excerpt + Giveaway

Flury: Journey of a Snowman

Flury: Journey of a Snowman (Claus #3) by Tony Bertauski
YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Life hasn’t been kind to Oliver Toye.

As if juvenile diabetes isn’t enough, he’s forced to live with his tyrannical grandmother in a snow-bound house. He spends his days doing chores and the nights listening to the forest rumble.

But when he discovers the first leather-bound journal, the family secrets begin to surface. The mystery of his great-grandfather’s voyage to the North Pole is revealed. That’s when the snowman appears.

Magical and mysterious, the snowman will save Oliver more than once. But when the time comes for Oliver to discover the truth, will he have the courage? When Flury needs him, will he have the strength? When believing isn’t enough, will he save the snowman from melting away?

Because sometimes even magic needs a little help.

Excerpt from Flury

Oliver emerges from his phone trance. It takes a moment to realize his mistake. The sun has set.
He fumbles toward the door but returns to put everything in order, just like he found it. In the dark alcove, he stops. The roots look like knobby claws in the dusky light, but that’s not what sends a shiver up his throat.
Leaves are stirring, twigs snapping.
The forest is waking up.
He creeps to the edge, squeezing the wooden orb in his pocket for strength and confidence. For luck. Something quakes above him. Rocks trickle down the hill. His knees almost quit. Oliver pulls the backpack straps tight against his shoulders and eyes the stone steps leading around the tree. The next disturbance is closer.
Oliver shoots for the exit.
Whatever’s happening behind him gets louder.
I’ve been spotted!
An avalanche of stems and leaves slide down the slope. Oliver swiftly climbs the stones and swings onto the tree, speed-walking across the river with his arms held out to the sides. His eyes fill with water. He keeps focused on his steps. The water, cloaked in dying light, calls from below. He’s almost across, only three steps to go, when tree vibrates.
Something has stepped onto the bridge.
Oliver takes one giant leap off the tree, stumbling down the stones and into a thicket of vines and branches. The wooden orb flies from his hand, disappearing into the snow.
The fallen tree groans behind him.
Oliver scrambles to his feet, blindly sprinting through a world blurred with tears and panic, pulling at ropey vines and tangled branches, tripping on stones. Ignoring where he’s going or what’s in front of him, he pushes ahead—
And slams into a wall.
If it was a tree or a boulder, he’d be unconscious. Oliver bounces on his backpack, flails to his knees, wiping the tears to see what’s in front of him: two enormous stumps of snow.
He grinds the heels of his hands into his eyes.
Ten feet tall.
Thick body and long arms.
Head like a turret.
A snowman looks down at him.
It can’t be.
Branches are breaking. The ground trembles. Before Oliver sees what’s coming, the snowman sweeps him off the ground. The wind shrieks in Oliver’s ears, ripping the stocking cap from his head. A wintry blast hardens his cheeks and fills his head. Tree trunks fly past and disappear. Then the open field is all around.
The world is spinning.
It happens so fast that he’s unaware when the spinning stops or how he ends up lying in the snow, the screech of the windmill nearby.
The acrid taste of vomit stings his throat.
Oliver looks up at the massive form. Again, he wipes his eyes. Twilight highlights the hulking figure; snow like sparkling skin. It remains still and, for a moment, sanity returns and he’s just an intricately carved figure of snow.
I am not an “it.”
Just like that, reality tilts back into fantasy. The snowman is not an “it.” Oliver thought that. No, he heard it. He thinks he heard it… “him”… think it…and Oliver heard him think it.
The weird fills his head. It’s the blood sugar weird feeling, a weird-weird feeling combined. It’s falling off a cliff of reality and waiting to land.
The snowman’s chest inflates. Something’s inside him, a source of light beaming through the snow, illuminating his body as he bends over, reaches out and wraps his hands around Oliver’s arms, pulls him up.
His breath is frigid.
The snowman opens Oliver’s hand and drops the wooden orb into his palm. It vibrates through his arm.
“Oliver!” Mom calls.
The snowman straightens up, turns toward the windmill. It steps back and, just before dissolving into a shimmering flurry, tosses the stocking cap on Oliver’s lap. The once massive form swirls into the forest like a sparkling cloud of diamonds, no footsteps left to follow. In the midst of the snowy dust, something glimmers.
A metallic sphere.
“Oliver!” Mom runs into the open field.
She sees him. Snow has filled her open-laced boots and her coat unbuttoned. “We’ve been looking for you. Where have you been?”
“I’m sorry. I got…turned around.”
He keeps looking at the trees. There’s a light, a shimmering light that lingers.
“Are you all right?”
Mom looks where he’s staring. “What is it?”
“I don’t know.”
She walks closer to the trees. The light goes out.
Grandmother is behind them. Her arm is tucked inside a long black coat. Mom takes Oliver’s arm. Her fingers are cold and quivering. Grandmother waits for them to approach, silently scolding. He apologizes again.
She turns her back and leads the way home. As she slides her arm out of her coat, he catches a glint of a metal glove.

Other Books in the Series

Claus - Legend of the Fat Man                                    Jack
Book Links                                          Book Links
Goodreads                                           Goodreads

Author Bio - Tony Bertauski

During the day, I'm a horticulturist. While I've spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I've always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I've always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I'm a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I'd rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That's the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it's only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer's Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult's struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I'm a big fan of plot twists.

Author Links
Website - Goodreads - Facebook

Find the rest of the TOUR HERE!

Tour-Wide Giveaway

One winner will receive e-copies of the Claus series (Claus, Jack, and Flury)

-Ends 30th November 2014

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